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Control Of Congress Has Been Decided But Some Races Are Too Close To Call


All right. Control of Congress has been decided. Republicans increased their majority in the Senate, and Democrats got control of the House. There were also a bunch of high-profile contests for governor and lots of ballot measures. Kelsey Snell and Ayesha Rascoe from NPR's Politics team are with me now. Good morning to you both.



KING: All right. Kelsey, the results are still rolling in. Where do we stand now?

SNELL: Well, Democrats are on track now to pick up more than two - sorry - to reach a number of more than 220 in the House. And Republicans have picked up at least two seats, and they could pick up as many as two more. But things are too close to call in at least two states - Arizona and Montana, in particular. Those are going to be nail-biters, and it may be a long time before we find out about Arizona.

So Democrats are feeling really good about where things stand in the House, but the Senate will make things quite difficult for actually getting anything done in Washington in the next couple of years.

KING: (Laughter) All right. So who are the stars from this new class? Who are the movers and shakers likely to be?

SNELL: Well, I think one of the things that we've been watching a lot for Democrats is the way that they are kind of expanding what the party looks like. And I've been watching people like Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey, who's a former Navy helicopter pilot, and Jason Crow in Colorado, who's a former Army Ranger, who won in these suburban seats that were so important to Democrats but are going to be representing such very different types of districts.

I think that they're going to play a really important role in what the party looks like in two years, in four years, and whether or not Democrats can be more of a party of not just the coast, but also of, you know, the smaller parts of the internal parts of the country. And on the Republican side, we're watching Josh Hawley, who won in Missouri. He is a new, fresh face and somebody that Republicans are really hoping will be a part of their big future.

KING: And, of course, a lot of pickups by women last night in both parties.

SNELL: Absolutely.

KING: Ayesha, you are joining us from the White House. Now, President Trump campaigned very heavily in the last weeks of the midterm campaign. Do we know yet what the president thinks about these results?

RASCOE: We do. He's making it very clear on Twitter and through some White House officials that he thinks it's a great victory. He called it a tremendous success. Basically, what the White House is arguing is that, yes, they lost the House, but that is historically usually the case that presidents lose the House, but they gained in the Senate, which doesn't typically happen - it's not as usual - and that the candidates that President Trump really campaigned for, that they won, and the candidates that really embraced him won. Of course, some of that may be some of the more moderate Republicans who didn't embrace him as much, may not have won even if they did embrace him. But that's what the White House is arguing this morning.

KING: That's their line at this point. You know, Ayesha, a lot of Republicans worried that Democratic victories would lead to a House of Representatives that wants to investigate this president and his administration and has some plans to do so. This morning, is the White House telegraphing any concern about that?

RASCOE: Right now, it's all confidence. And I should say, President Trump is going to have a press conference today, so he's going to talk more about this. But what they're arguing is, oh, that voters don't want investigations. And Kellyanne Conway was saying this, and so was Sarah Sanders, that they don't want all of these investigations, so Democrats should be wary of trying to do that.

Now, obviously, Democrats are going to argue something different. They're going to argue they took over the House, and that because they did that, that voters were saying that they want a check on the White House; they want oversight. And so - and they will. There will be more oversight, and there will be investigations.

KING: All right - and some big questions, of course, about bipartisanship and - as we move forward. Kelsey, last question to you - some high-profile Democratic candidates fell short on Tuesday. Beto O'Rourke lost to Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Andrew Gillum lost the Florida governor's race to Ron DeSantis. Who are the national voices of the Democratic Party now, and are they not the progressive voices that we heard so much about?

SNELL: This is actually the biggest struggle that I was hearing people - sending me emails and kind of checking in on was that there isn't a very clear answer to that question. Democrats are going to have to spend a lot of time, particularly with a presidential election coming up so soon, figuring out who those voices are and will have to continue litigating whether or not progressives are a major part of that.

KING: Presidential election coming up soon - terrifying words from Kelsey Snell. Thanks, also, to Ayesha Rascoe of the NPR Politics team. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.
Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.

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